Bonjour, Bon Soir Ou Bonsoir ?

Bonjour !

The first French word many people ever learn: bonjour ! It looks simple – but is hiding more subtleties than you expect.

What is un bon jour? When should you use Bonne nuit ? What’s the deal with Bonne journée ? Is there a special greeting for the morning?

Let’s clarify this with today’s episode!




Saying “hello” during the day (never say bonjour twice)

Greetings in France

Et toi ?

Did you know these differences?

Which are your favorite greetings in your own language?

What’s the first word you ever learned in French?

Bonne journée,

Géraldine

Join the conversation!

  • I took French in high school and don’t remember much about that. But I took a year of French my first year in college from a very enthusiastic teacher! We practiced saying Bon over and over again until it was free of our southern accents!

  • Bonjour was the first word that I learned. So happy that I found this conversation. Thank you!

  • Oooooh! “Rolala” caught my attention! How is it used, please?
    As far as early french words; was in high school in the late 50s.
    “La plume de la tante est sûr le bureau de mon oncle”
    Have you ever heard of that teaching phrase?
    I understand there is a french equivalent.

  • Salut Geraldine,

    This is wonderful. The very first word I learned in French was Madamoiselle and Comment allez vous because I watched this cartoon entitled Princess Sarah. hahaha..Are you even familiar with that cartoon series? Thanks by the way for your wonderful lessons. They’re interesting.

  • Bonjour Géraldine,

    Merde! Le premier mot que j’ai appris en français était ‘merde.’

    LOL, Stacey

  • Bonjour Géraldine
    I’d never realised that in France people only say bonjour to one
    another once each day, and that you don’t go on saying bonjour
    to the same person numerous times in the same day ! Since
    you’ve explained this I find it somewhat amusing to think that I’ve
    probably made this mistake … again and again !!!
    Er …………… merci, et .. salut 😀

  • Bonjour Geraldine,

    Moi, je dit “hey” très souvent avec ma famille ou bien “hello there” or “hello you” pour des autres. Mon premier mot ou phrase en français (désolée!): “voulez-vous coucher…” etc., une chanson malheureusement très populaire aux Etats-Unis il y a des ans. Je m’en souviens aussi de la phrase”on va a la plage.” (High school French class first year.) C’est cette phrase particulièrement qui m’a convaincu de continuer a étudier la langue, parce qu’elle est facile a prononcer a l’age de 14 ans. De plus, c’est la plage!
    Merci pour cette video.

  • I was corrected on the use of “bonnuit” after saying that to the owner of a restaurant in Paris. My friend, a Parisianne, told me that “bonnuit” is only used just before bed and she didn’t think I was staying to help him close then got to bed with him! Bonsoir was the word I wanted. Oops

    Having lived in south Lousisana where they speak Cajun French, I learned “Fait do-do.” The children are bid fait do-do (bonnuit), so the parents can fait do-do (party!).

    • Bonjour Beth,

      Indeed “bonne nuit” is only used right before bed.

      We also use “Faire dodo” as “to sleep” with children.

  • In second grade, in music class, I learned the words to a song from the musical South Pacific: Dites-moi pourquoi la vie est belle. Dites-moi pourquoi la vie est gaie. Dites-moi pourquoi chère mademoiselle. Est-ce que, parce que vous m’aimez? That started my love for le français. Are you familiar with that song? Love your videos

  • Frere Jacques, Frère Jacques, Dormez vous? Dormez vous?Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines… il y a longtemps!

  • My first french words? Michelle, ma belle, (ce) sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble…..Yes I was a 10 year old Beatle-maniac in love with Paul, wishing my name was Michelle instead of Susan!
    Later, in my first official french class when I was 13, the word that sticks in my mind was “Écoutez, écoutez, écoutez!” (Hey, we were in jr. high!)
    But I actually wish I could thank that teacher (Monroe High School, Rochester, NY) because her total immersion approach to learning a language hooked me for life! And that was 49 years ago!
    (I also would like to thank Sir Paul McCartney…..in person peut-être??)

  • My first french words? Michelle, ma belle, (ce) sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble…..Yes I was a 10 year old Beatle-maniac in love with Paul, wishing my name was Michelle instead of Susan!
    Later, in my first official french class when I was 13, the word that sticks in my mind was “Écoutez, écoutez, écoutez!” (Hey, we were in jr. high!)
    But I actually wish I could thank that teacher (Monroe High School, Rochester, NY) because her total immersion approach to learning a language hooked me for life! And that was 49 years ago!
    (I also would like to thank Sir Paul McCartney…..in person…?)

  • I did know these greetings. I use “Good Morning, Afternoon and Evening” often. To part, I use “Bye, now,” “See you soon,” “Good-bye” and “Let’s talk more later.”
    The first word I learned in French was “à propos.”

  • Re-Bonjour Geraldine.
    Is jour (day) masculine and journee (journey?) feminine? Is this why it is Bonjour and Bonnie journee?

  • Bonjour Géraldine,
    Comment allez-vous?
    My favorite greeting words in my language (Rajasthani-a regional language in India) are RAM-RAM, Jai shree krishan, Namaste etc. For me the first word was ça va in French language. After that Bonjour, Salut….

  • Thank you!!! Though I’m not Italian, I like using ciao, or ciao-ciao as a good-bye.

    Love your lessons!

  • Bonjour Geraldine,
    I have heard you use coucou a lot. Is it a greeting only used between very close friends?
    And is it a greeting used more by women than men.
    Thanks for your great lessons. I am enjoying working through your Subtle French course!

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